“I absolutely get that same sense from people that they’re waiting in the wings, and so looking forward to having MIFF back as this essential part of Winter in Melbourne”. Al Cossar
This August Melbourne will be reunited with its winter companion, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). It has been three years since the festival has been shown in cinemas across Melbourne. This not only makes 2022 a very welcomed festival, it’s also the 70th edition. With that comes a wonderful program ripe with hours of all the genres ready for picking. The best part, you can pick whatever tickles your fancy at any time, anywhere with the beauty of MIFF Play (the festival’s streaming option).
Artistic Director for the festival Al Cossar was careful when deciding what this year’s festival meant to Melbourne and to make sure it didn’t look at itself too seriously.
When discussing the festival’s 70th anniversary, Cossar said it could have been easy to become introspective. But what he really wanted to do is for the festival to “be a moment to reach out and welcome audiences in, and welcome audiences back, to do our part to reactivate Melbourne,” he said.
The program is bursting with just about any genre you could possibly desire. Something long, something short, something local, something foreign. While it may seem a beast of a festival, Cossar very much knew how he wanted to celebrate the 70th anniversary.
“A major theme of the festival’s anniversary program this year is that relationship between MIFF and Melbourne,” he said.
There is a unique relationship Melbourne has with the festival. But it goes beyond the screenings itself, it’s “those beautiful in-between moments of bumping into people into the queue, or making random decisions about what to see next,” Cossar explains.
“I think people have missed the cinema, but they’ve also missed those in-between moments, that sense of joyful and randomised spontaneity that comes with a MIFF deep-dive,” he said.
Opening the festival on August 4 is the World premiere of the Australian film by Director Goran Stolevski, Of an Age. According to the MIFF program it’s a “heart-meltingly tender, quintessentially Melbourne queer coming-of-age tale that will make you swoon from beginning to end”.
If that doesn’t quite scratch your Melbourne itch, there is a whole lot more. Cossar passionately reels off some options. “You can see that in our epic Melbourne on Film Retrospective, which combines the iconic, the restored, as well as rare gems and rediscoveries,” he said.
“And in Closing, Lachlan McLeod’s CLEAN, the documentary portrait of the life of trauma cleaner Sandra Pankhurst, and her Melbourne company that brings kindness to some very dark places all across the city – a really wonderful film about the capacity we have to understand each other and to empathise, a film for these times, absolutely,” Cossar explains.
If you’re feeling like escaping Melbourne through film there are some 370 plus options. Cossar doesn’t hold back saying it’s an overwhelming scale for even the hardened of movie goers. But he said with the beauty of the streaming side of the festival, MIFF Play, “there’s a huge span of regionality, language and culture on display, as well as those films which are more broadly accessible, and those which are more challenging or formally adventurous for an audience”.
For those Melbournians still cautious or isolating MIFF Play offers a great alternative to “to the worlds of Netflix or home subscriber streaming options, many of which have become very familiar (by necessity!) to us over the last couple of years, and there are films within the digital program that you’ll never see in those other kinds of settings,” Cossar said.
It goes without saying we just don’t know how the future will pan out. But Cossar passionately explains MIFF will keep you company in any capacity.
“…while audiences can go back to cinema, people’s circumstances might change very quickly in terms of their health or level of comfort to go out, so having that digital festival element in the design of it with MIFF Play hopefully gives the audience that assurance that they’ll be able to be part of MIFF this year, no matter what,” he said.
For those not quite interested in film, MIFF also has a large music genre for 2022. The music strand of the festival is the home of Moonage Daydream, a trip through the art and music of David Bowie. Sinead O’Connor’s documentary Nothing Compares which shows her rise to fame and her exile from pop mainstream.
Keep an eye out at Novastream to see MIFF movie reviews, recaps from the red carpet and if you really can’t decide, let the team help you with a Top 5 films to check out this festival.
MIFF starts August 4 and runs right through to August 21st, 18 days full of showcases, international features, exclusive screenings, panel discussions, talks, experiences and a whole lotta movies. If you want a little bit more MIFF Play runs from August 11 to August 28 nationally.
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